Olo, the Boy from Tibet

(Japan, 2012, 108 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In Japanese with English subtitles
Canadian Premiere
Director:
Classification: G

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"At the age of 6 Olo left his family and fled from Tibet on his own. Currently, he studies as a boarding student at the Tibetan Children’s Village in India operated by the Tibetan-Government-in-Exile. This is a unique documentary which, by closely following a young boy, shows us the sentiments of a people continuing to live as refugees and the tragedy of Tibet, denied its nationality and culture.

Watching Olo mature having encountered and experienced many things—the arrest of a family friend for filming a movie on Tibetan soil; the arrest of a Tibetan friend attempting to flee the country; a journey to meet the an elderly woman, a friend of the director, who lives in a Nepalese refugee camp—we are confronted with the diverse realities of Tibet. What is a country? What is culture? What is it to live? The film forces us to contemplate universal problems.

The director, Iwasa Hisaya, is a veteran filmmaker who attracted attention in the 60s with his avant-garde documentaries. Through his distinctive direction, which skews the boundary between documentary and fiction, he portrays the sorrow and anguish of the Tibetan people without making loud political statements. The meeting of a director and a young boy whose age difference resembles that of a grandfather and grandchild has resulted in this is openly beautiful and warm film."

Akihiro Suzuki (Raindance Film Festival)